Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe and Healthy During the Hot Season

To have a truly enjoyable summer with your dog, you must be prepared and aware of the most prevalent summer threats for dogs. Here are seven summer hazards to be wary of.

Dog on cliff in summer

Beware of the most common summer hazards

1. Heat stroke

Leaving a dog in a parked car during the summer months is extremely dangerous and can lead to heatstroke. Even if the windows are partially open, the temperature inside the car can rise quickly on hot, sunny days. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat exhaustion because they cannot cool themselves as efficiently as humans. They rely on panting to regulate their body temperature, but when the air is too hot and humid, panting becomes less effective. Therefore, it’s essential to never leave your dog in a parked car during the summer months.

In addition, pet owners need to be careful about exercising their dogs in extreme heat during the summer. Dogs can quickly become overheated and at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke when exercising in hot weather. It’s important to exercise your dog during cooler times of the day and to provide them with plenty of water and access to shade.

Heat stroke signs include panting, restlessness, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, confusion, collapse, and seizures. Emergency treatment is necessary. If your pet overheats, move them to a cool, well-ventilated area and pour cool water on them or place cool, damp towels over them. Change towels every few minutes and call your vet for further advice.

To protect your pet during hot weather:

  • Avoid exercising in hot weather and walking your dog during the day
  • Walk your pet early morning or late evening when it’s cooler
  • Provide access to cool, sheltered, and well-ventilated spaces
  • Ensure access to fresh water at all times
  • Do not leave your pet in the car
  • Brachycephalic breeds, overweight pets, and older pets are particularly vulnerable. 

2. Wasp (and Bee) stings

Wasp and bee stings are usually quite painful. The dog may endure redness, swelling, and soreness. Remove any remaining visible stingers, but do not squeeze. An ice pack wrapped in a towel can provide pain relief. It is possible that your pet can develop an allergic reaction following a wasp sting, contact your vet immediately if you notice any swelling developing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea or weakness, it may take several hours for an anaphylactic reaction to develop. An attack by a swarm of wasps can be particularly dangerous.

3. Cuts

Broken bottles or other sharp edges in walking trails might cause serious injuries to the dog. Some injuries, cuts and wounds require urgent veterinary attention. If your pet is bleeding heavily from the wound or it is a large wound, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Minor grazes and cuts can be managed at home. As soon as you notice the wound, clean the wound and the surrounding area with salt water (add one teaspoon of salt to a pint of cooled boiled water). Clean the wound regularly and use a buster collar to keep the dog from licking the wound. Monitor the wound for any signs of infection or inflammation I.e., redness, swelling, discharge in which case veterinary attention will be required.

4. Barbecue and picnic leftovers

Don’t give your dog leftover barbecue food, especially corn on the cob and chicken bones. Symptoms that the dog has ingested something unsuitable include vomiting or diarrhoea.

5. Algae poisoning

Is your dog anxious, trembling, vomiting, or wobbly after the beach trip? Algae poisoning can occur if it has consumed or swam in contaminated water. Algal bloom water is extremely toxic to dogs, and ingesting algal toxins can result in death within an hour. If you suspect algal poisoning, call your veterinarian right away!

6. Moist Eczema (Hotspot)

Hotspots, also known as acute moist Eczema, is a common skin condition in dogs that can cause discomfort and inflammation. These are areas of the skin that are irritated, itchy, and inflamed, and they can develop quickly, often within a matter of hours. Hotspots are usually seen on the cheek, neck or head, but can basically appear anywhere on the body. Symptoms of hotspots in dogs can include redness, swelling, hair loss, and a weeping or oozing discharge from the affected area. Dogs may also lick, chew, or scratch at the area, which can make the condition worse. Hotspots can be caused by insect bites, stings and allergies.

7. Ticks

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and anaplasma to dogs. Check the dog’s coat daily and remove any ticks as soon as possible. Tick-borne infections can cause lameness, fever, weariness, decreased appetite, and aversion to movement. Use a veterinary prescribed tick repellent on the dog.